Citizens Must Be Able to Participate in Decision-Making

A Manual for Civil Dialogue was presented in Sarajevo on Tuesday along with a review of the two-year “Capacity building for civil society participation in civil dialogue in BiH” project (Cidi). The project was financed from the EU 2007 IPA in the amount of 1.2 million Euros.

Natalia Dianiskova, EU Delegation Chief of Operations for Social Development, Civil Society and Cross-border Cooperation, said the project had helped to raise awareness of the importance of civil dialogue, capacity building of governments and civil society organisations, and the establishment of better cooperation between government departments and civil society organisations.

“Cidi helped these different bodies engage in mutual dialogue and develop a legal and institutional framework to support cooperation,” Dianiskova said.

”She stressed the key importance of the project since the development of a mature and articulate civil society is a precondition for consolidating democratic life, which in turn is a precondition for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s accession to the European Union.

Goran Žeravčić, Director of the Kronauer Consulting Company and the Cidi Project Director said the aim has been to change the way of reaching political decisions, drafting legislation and drawing up strategies. He emphasised that citizens and non-governmental organisations must be able to participate in decision-making.

Žeravčić said the project had focused on raising awareness about the importance of changing decision-making mechanisms. He added that interaction with officials in the relevant government ministries had produced positive results.

Speaking about the Manual for Civil Dialogue, Žeravčić said that it will help users in government and in the NGO sector with practical proposals for creating and sustaining more effective dialogue.

“Although the Rulebook on consultations with civil society was adopted as long ago as 2006, there has been little awareness of its application, so this project has been a means of showing civil servants that involving citizens in the decision-making process from the beginning is crucial, said Sadeta Škaljić of the Civil Society Sector in the BiH Ministry of Justice. “This is an element in the rule of law and it is also a way of reducing the number of administrative and judicial procedures.”

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